Wednesday, August 18, 2010

FC Nibble: I'll Have The Gin Cocktail, But 86 The Lettuce

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This saucy little Italian place has been generating some buzz in Tribeca for its unusual décor and more even more unusual cocktail menu. So I went off with a bunch of friends to try it out. The huge booths sitting on platforms are said to rotate (but we didn’t see it) and the tables were covered in a white rubber mat with grenade-shaped salt and pepper shakers.

The drinks were...inventive. Check out the menu for yourself! Some of the combinations are incredible – and we were excited to try something new! I ordered the La Signoria which was: gin, lemon juice, sugar, lettuce, strawberry and balsamic reduction. No – that wasn’t me doing my impression of Rachel making a trifle on Friends (STILL cracks me up!). As much as I wanted to LOVE this drink…it tasted like lettuce water. I even made everyone at the table try it to confirm.

My friends ordered the Paco-Taibo white tequila, pink peppercorn, thyme, cherry tomatoes, honey rimmed with parmigiano (yes the cheese!). Shawn kept calling it “aggressive” – so I gave it a sip – the tequila and the parmigiano WERE aggressive – they fought the whole way down!

Note fellow Foodie in NYC member, Danielle, also recently dined Il Matto and tried the Bloody Frida and really enjoyed it.

So – the drinks were by FAR saved by the wine – a great, crisp, floral French white.

The food fared much better. For apps – go for the parmigiano-style zucchini with smoked mozzarella- it was savory and smoky – almost with the consistency of chutney. Yum!

I was conservative on the meal choice and (given my roll of the dice on the drinks didn’t go my way). I ordered the black olive triangle shaped ravioli, stuffed with buffalo mozzarella over tomato sauce topped with fried eggplant. The eggplant was more of a thin chip that garnished each creamy little ravioli.

My friend Krista got the pine nut crusted chicken over celery root puree and garlic chips. While they SAY it was pine nuts – we’re pretty sure they MEANT peanuts. And when they say crusted – they mean smothered within an inch of that poor chicken’s life! (read: we all were craving some jelly after trying Krista’s dish! )

The others opted for saffron pappardelle with osso buco ragout and bone marrow sabayon. It was very rich – but also very good.

I would recommend Il Matto…but just opt for the wine instead of the overly ambitious cocktails!

Mangia tutto!

Il Matto
21 Church Street (between White and Franklin)

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